We Got To Preview Saints Row In Las Vegas, Baby!

On occasion, really cool stuff gets to happen, like getting a chance to be flown out to Las Vegas by Deep Silver to try out the new Saints Row. The franchise has had an interesting history, and while we're sure a lot of people were waiting for Saints Row 5, the reality is a reboot was needed. (I mean, come on, they went to SPACE in SR4! At that point, you're just playing Star Trek with gangs.) So the team took the series in a brand new direction in a whole new cityscape and brought it back to the roots of what made it a hit in the first place. We were one of the lucky outlets who were flown out to Las Vegas early this month to shack up in a hotel designed to look like the new city, and try out the game for ourselves in an extended preview.

We Got To Preview Saints Row In Las Vegas, Baby!
Credit: Deep Silver

So right off the bat, we talked about how this is a reboot, and they do an incredible job of setting that up. You're taken right at the start of the game into creating a character of your own from several choices of voice, gender, skin tone, hair color, traits, outfits, etc. Your character is one of four criminals shacking up in an apartment together trying to make ends meet, which includes you taking a government job as part of the local security force. Your first day doesn't exactly go as planned, but you get the job done and celebrate with your friends… by knocking over a check cashing place as a team. The game does a great job of introducing your friends and what everyone's connections and specialties are as you go into a few jobs with them by your side. However, this is a solo venture for the most part, so you need to learn to get better at everything on the criminal side of things.

We Got To Preview Saints Row In Las Vegas, Baby!
Credit: Deep Silver

The version of the game that we played touched on a good chunk of the early story, but it wasn't a long demo. With that in mind, we're going to focus on a few key items shy of making this a full-on review. And the first thing we need to discuss is building rep and experience. Throughout the game, whether it be the main storyline, side-missions, or just random things to do to occupy your time, everything revolves around you gaining experience and developing your skills. There is a skill tree, which you will use to get better at certain tasks. Everything from better aim, weapons proficiency, being able to duck and roll, and a ton of other abilities will be available to you to improve on to help you become a better criminal. You are given the freedom to just dump everything XP-related into one stat, but in reality, you're going to have to spread that out and focus on a few things depending on how you like to play.

We Got To Preview Saints Row In Las Vegas, Baby!
Credit: Deep Silver

But not to worry, this city is filled with a ton of chances to get experience. The city in this game is called Santo Ileso, and as you may have guessed from the name, is a total southwestern U.S. metropolis city. A complete departure from the "Detroitsburgh" feeling of the previous games. Here you have a giant cityscape spread out across a desert region with a giant lake in the middle of it all. Parts of this landscape and city are taken straight from places like Arizona, Nevada, southern California, Utah, and New Mexico. Everything from a downtown area full of businesses, to a desert suburb filled with pockets of culture and upstart gangs, to baren plains and Redrock where you can do pretty much whatever unseen by authorities. This is basically a playground for those who wish to make it to the top by any means necessary, and it's beautifully designed so that it never gets stale.

We Got To Preview Saints Row In Las Vegas, Baby!
Credit: Deep Silver

Of course, the primary piece of Saints Row is the main storyline, in which you will rise through the ranks of the criminal world of Santo Ileso to become kings of the city. But there is no easy way to the top as you're taking on multiple roles, from being a government soldier to a freelance mercenary. As a solider, you'll deal with missions like observing a convoy… until observing doesn't help your health and you decide to get involved. As a mercenary, you'll take on jobs handed to you by others, such as driving into the big city to take out two criminals who were captured, and you need to make sure they don't snitch. Both of these jobs are a pain in your backside, but they pay the bills and nab you XP depending on your performance. There are also missions that open up new features in the game, such as rescuing some special parts for a shop that opens up the shop for you to use later on. Everything leads to something.

We Got To Preview Saints Row In Las Vegas, Baby!
Credit: Deep Silver

While you do eventually have to go back to the main story, you can also entertain yourself with a lot of side missions, which also bring in experience and info based on what's happening around you. We took about an hour and a half of doing just side missions and got a good taste of what you can do. There's one where you pick up drugs left around the city ditched by criminals on the run from the cops. There's one where you serve as a freelancer giving people "a message" by taking their member out. There's one where you go photograph sights around the city. Another where you go learn about the history of certain places. There's even one where you leave bad Yelp-like reviews at restaurants to help someone else's businesses out. There are a lot of random things to do that are fun and challenging and give you a better perspective of everything around you. I totally recommend checking them out when you get the chance.

We Got To Preview Saints Row In Las Vegas, Baby!
Credit: Deep Silver

Overall, I thought this preview of Saints Row was amazing. Granted, it's a preview; it wasn't perfect, but the gripes I have are minor compared to the experience I had with the game in general. There's a lot of enjoyment from the main storyline, some of which we couldn't get into here, that you'll get a thrill out of from the minute the game starts. We didn't even get into the full spectrum of what is possible in this game as the preview offered only a window of time. We didn't get into fashion and shopping, we didn't get into weapons, and we barely got into the concept of building an empire. This is going to be a long game, even if the only thing you do is the main story.

Satins Row will launch onto PC, Stadia, PlayStation, and Xbox on August 23rd, 2022. And you can check out our interview with the developers at this event here.

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Gavin SheehanAbout Gavin Sheehan

Gavin is the current Games Editor for Bleeding Cool. He has been a lifelong geek who can chat with you about comics, television, video games, and even pro wrestling. He can also teach you how to play Star Trek chess, be your Mercy on Overwatch, recommend random cool music, and goes rogue in D&D. He also enjoys hundreds of other geeky things that can't be covered in a single paragraph. Follow @TheGavinSheehan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vero, for random pictures and musings.
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